Benefits for Merchant Marines by mifei


									                     Benefits for Merchant Marines
On January 19, 1988, the Secretary of the Air Force declared certain Merchant Marine service
as qualifying for Veterans benefits. Merchant seamen who served in active oceangoing service
from December 7, 1941 to August 15, 1945 are considered to be veterans. Also eligible are
Civil Service crewmembers serving aboard U.S. Army Transport Service and Naval
Transportation Service vessels in oceangoing service. If you wish to be considered for VA
benefits, you should apply for a discharge certificate (DD Form 214) by completing DD
Form 2168 (Application For Discharge of Member or Survivor of Member of Group
Certified To Have Performed Active Duty With the Armed Services of the United States)
and sending it to:

                           USCG – National Maritime Center
                                      ATTN: WWII
                                   100 Forbes Drive
                                Martinsburg, WV 25404
                 Main Inquiry Line: 1-888-I-ASK-NMC (1-888-427-5662)
                            Alternate Line: 1-304-433-3400

The discharge certificate issued by the Coast Guard will reflect dates of all wartime voyages.
The remark section will show inclusive dates of each voyage. Each voyage will be considered a
separate period of active service in determining eligibility for benefits and services.

In general, merchant marine veterans who obtain discharge certificates and their survivors
may be eligible for the following benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):

Disability Compensation – The VA pays compensation for disabilities incurred or
aggravated during military service. It is of primary importance to list information on the
application form showing dates and places of medical treatment received in service which relate
to the condition for which you are claiming service connection. If medical records are available,
please include them with your application. If not, the VA will make every effort to obtain the
records. Use VA Form 21-526 to apply.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation – Payments are authorized for surviving
spouses, unmarried children under 18 (as well as certain helpless children and those between 18
and 23 if attending a VA-approved school) and certain parents of veterans who died from service
connected disabilities. Surviving spouses and children use VA Form 21-534 to apply.
Dependent parents use VA Form 21-535.

Disability Pension – For wartime veterans, surviving spouses and children with limited
incomes. Veterans who are permanently and totally disabled because of nonservice-connected
disability may be eligible. Veterans use VA Form 21-526 to apply; survivors use VA Form

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Medical Care – The VA provides hospital care covering the full range of medical services for
all service-connected conditions, to veterans in receipt of VA pension or those eligible for
Medicaid. Outpatient treatment is available to veterans with service-connected conditions.
Hospital care may be provided on a space-available basis to nonservice-connected veterans with
incomes within certain limitations. Veterans with incomes more than these limitations may be
furnished hospital care on a space-available basis if they agree to make a co-payment to the VA.
Application should be made to the VA Medical Center on VA Form 10-10EZ.

Dental Treatment – Treatment is available for veterans with dental disabilities resulting from
combat wounds or service injuries.

Home Loan Guaranty – The VA will guarantee your loan for the purchase of a home,
manufactured home or condominium. Apply for a certificate of eligibility on VA Form 26-

Burial Benefits – The VA provides certain burial benefits, including interment in a national
cemetery, a headstone or marker, partial reimbursement for burial expenses and a burial flag.
Postmortem requests for burial in a national cemetery should be made to the director of the
cemetery in which burial is desired. Application for the burial allowance should be made on
VA Form 21-530, for a headstone or marker on VA Form 40-1330, and for a burial flag on
VA Form 21-2008.

GI Insurance – Life insurance (up to $10,000) is available for veterans with service-connected

Vocational Rehabilitation – In limited circumstances, eligibility for vocational rehabilitation
may be established. Basic eligibility requires a service-connected disability rated by VA at
20%, however there are certain exceptions and eligibility will be determined on the merits of
individual cases. If eligibility is established, the VA will pay tuition, books, tools or other
expenses and provide a monthly living allowance. Employment assistance is also available to
help a rehabilitated veteran get a job. Use VA Form 28-1900 to apply.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Section 402 of P.L. 105-368 , “Veterans Programs Enhancement Act of
1998”, amended title 46, United States Code, by adding chapter 112, which provides that the
“qualified service” of certain merchant mariners between August 16, 1945, and December 31,
1946, would be deemed active duty service for purposes of benefits eligibility under chapters 23
(Burial Benefits) and 24 (National Cemeteries and Memorials) of title 38, United States Code.
Depending on the type of merchant marine service, certification of “qualified service” must
come from the Department of Transportation or the Department of Defense.

Basic eligibility has thus been extended to covered merchant mariners for the following benefits:
burial flags, burial allowance for certain indigent wartime veterans, plot allowance payable to a
State for burial in certain “state owned” cemeteries or cemetery sections, headstones and
markers, internment in national cemeteries, markers in memorial areas of national cemeteries,
and markers in memorial areas of Arlington National Cemetery. In general, benefits may be

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provided only for deaths occurring after November 11, 1998. However, in the case of an initial
burial or columbarium placement in a national cemetery after November 11, 1998, benefits
incident to burial and the provision of a headstone or marker are authorized regardless of the date
of death.

For further information, please consult the following list of VA toll-free numbers
for the number which applies to your specific needs or circumstances:

Nationwide                 1-800-827-1000

VA Life Insurance          1-800-669-8477

Device for Deaf    1-800-829-4833

Health Benefits             1-877-222-8387

Or you may visit us at our web site:

You may also apply for benefits on-line at:

Application forms may be downloaded at:

DD Form 2168 (Application for Discharge of Member or Survivor of Member of
Group Certified To Have Performed Active Duty with the Armed Services of the
United States) may be downloaded at:

Direct Services (216C)                                                         Page 3 of 3
Compensation & Pension Service                                               January 2010

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